Dogged by theories that it has been lying about the amount of gold it holds, Germany‘s Bundesbank moved Wednesday to publicize full details on every bar of gold it possesses.
Over the course of more than 2,300 pages, the central bank document lists the status and location of every bar of gold in its 3,384 tons worth of stores, which is worth about 107 billion euros (120.3 billion dollars). The plan now is to update the list annually.
The move was promised in 2012 after years of theorists positing that Germany did not have as much gold as it claimed. Those suspicions were aggravated about questions about why Germany stored so much of its gold overseas.
Wednesday‘s tally shows that, as of the end of 2014, 35 per cent of its holdings were at home, 43 per cent was in New York, 13 per cent in London and 9 per cent in Paris.
Current plans call for the Bundesbank to have more than half of its goaled stored domestically by 2020, bringing back 300 tons of the stockpile in New York and all of the holdings from Paris and London. Already, 120 tons was brought back last year.
There are historical reasons why most of Germany‘s gold is kept in vaults of the Fed, the Banque de France and the Bank of England.
Starting in mid-1951 the Bank of the German States - the predecessor to the Bundesbank - began building up the country‘s gold reserves. In the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to then-West Germany‘s "economic miracle" and booming exports, these rose rapidly as German bankers used the export dollars to buy up gold.
The result is that the Bundesbank has the second-highest gold reserves in the world today, behind the United States.
During the Cold War it was deemed that German gold should be kept "west of the Rhine" and held as far as possible away from the country‘s borders, for fear of Soviet invasion.